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The Story
How Absolut Vodka Is Made
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Facts


The Best In Our Field
Fermentation - The Happy Life and Death of the Yeast Cell
Distillation - The Trickle Down Theory of Alcohol
The Dilemma of Vodka - Purity vs. Character
Water
The Famous Absolut Bottle
The End Justifies The Means of Production

The Best In Our Field
"We use our heads to produce a vodka with a nose." Theoretically, vodka can be made from almost any fermentable organic material - from whey to molasses. Absolut Vodka, however, is made solely from grain, which more than 400 years of tradition has proven to produce the best and purest vodka possible. Absolut Vodka uses a special method of distillation that retains a smooth grain character and is extremely low in unwanted by-products.

This is the story of how Absolut Vodka is made.

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Fermentation - The Happy Life and Death of the Yeast Cell
A few thousand years ago, someone made the bright discovery that when deprived of oxygen, the yeast cell turns sugar into carbon dioxide and ethanol. Fermented beverages are born. These beverages were eventually distilled, giving us dozens of different spirits, one of which is vodka.

Fermentation is an extremely delicate and complicated process where the yeast cell converts the sugar in the mash to ethanol. The result is a mixture with an 8% alcohol content and a hundred or so by-products, some unpleasant tasting, some harmful. A concern for quality from the very beginning of the production process minimizes these impurities - using only high quality grain, preparing the grain, safeguarding against bacteria and carefully controlling the fermentation process. Virtually all remaining impurities are removed in the distillation and rectification.

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Distillation - The Trickle Down Theory of Alcohol
Turning the fermented grain mash to vodka takes distillation. The principle has remained unchanged ever since it was accidentally discovered over a thousand years ago.

There are two kinds of distillation: batch distillation and continuous distillation. Batch distillation is an age-old method used for many types of spirits. Refined to a high degree of sophistication, this method is still used in areas like Cognac and the Scottish highlands to make cognac and whisky.

Absolut Vodka, however, is distilled using the second method, continuous distillation. This type of distillation builds on the same laws of physics as batch distillation. The essential difference is that the spirit is cycled back and forth producing a very pure final product.

Continuous distillation turns the 8% fermented mash into crude spirit with an alcohol concentration by volume of 85-90% (170-180 proof).

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The Dilemma of Vodka - Purity vs. Character
The last step is rectification, a method of removing unwanted by-products introduced over a century ago by the man on the bottle's medallion - Lars Olsson Smith. The crude spirit passes through a number of columns, each designed to remove a different set of impurities. One column extracts unpleasant tasting solvent compounds; another removes fusel oil; a third methanol; a fourth concentrates the spirit - 96% pure alcohol by volume and extremely low in impurities.

It is here we are faced with the dilemma of vodka production - distillation and rectification technology have advanced so far towards producing an absolutely pure vodka that it has also succeeded in removing trace elements that give vodka the character of the raw material from which it is made. Absolut Vodka has solved this dilemma by, parallel to the main distillation, producing a spirit where the goal is to retain the fine character of the grain. The final composite spirit, produced at or above 95% alcohol by volume (190 proof), has that unique smooth and fine character. Exactly how this is done is a well-kept secret.

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Water
The final stage in producing Absolut Vodka is adding water to bring the vodka to an alcohol content of 40% (80 proof). All water used in Absolut Vodka comes from its own well; the water's consistently even quality makes it the ideal water for a premium vodka.

Throughout the production process, Absolut Vodka is subjected to continuous tests. Every 10,000 liters is given a dozen tests using state-of-the-art technology and the most sensitive instruments known to man - the human palate and nose.

As every bottle of Absolut Vodka sold is produced in the same place - ┼hus, a small town in southern Sweden - we have complete quality control over the entire production process. Every bottle, every day.

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The Famous Absolut Bottle
We take as much care to ensure the quality of our bottles as the quality of our vodka. The Absolut Vodka bottle is made from low iron content sand for maximum clarity to show off its crystal clear contents. Most of the world supply of Absolut Vodka bottles is made nearby at the Limmared factory. Established in 1741, the glassworks once produced the original medicine bottles from which the Absolut bottle can trace its heritage.

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The End Justifies The Means of Production
The end result is the world famous Absolut Vodka.

Its history dates back to the earliest production of distilled spirits in southern Sweden more than 400 years ago, to a 19th century Swedish entrepreneur's vision, to Sweden's modern vodka-making expertise.

Of course, you can find the entire story on the bottle itself.

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